California Democrats Scale Back Bill Intended To Strengthen Laws Against Purchasing Child Sex

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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California Dems scaled back the bill intended to strengthen laws against purchasing child sex Tuesday, Daily Wire reported.

A California bill aimed at intensifying penalties for buying sex from minors advanced in the legislature Tuesday, according to Daily Wire. Initially proposed to convert the solicitation of minors from a misdemeanor to a felony, the bill has been modified to exclude teens aged 16 and 17 from the felony provisions.

The bipartisan effort, led by Republican California State Senator Shannon Grove, sought to impose a prison sentence of up to four years and fines of up to $25,000 for those convicted of soliciting minors. Additionally, offenders would be required to register as sex offenders for a decade. Despite these provisions, recent amendments now limit felony charges to cases involving children under 16, allowing lesser misdemeanor charges for offenses involving 16 and 17-year-olds, the outlet stated.

The bill’s progression followed a tense session in the Senate Public Safety Committee, where Democrats introduced and passed several amendments, much to the dismay of Grove, the outlet reported. In a statement, she expressed disappointment and criticized the amendments as “hostile” and reportedly accused committee members of maintaining a lenient stance on serious crimes involving child exploitation.

“I’m incredibly disappointed that not only did my colleagues reject my proposal to make the buying of children for sex a prison felony, but that I was blindsided when they amended my bill without my consent,” Grove said. “Unfortunately, the members of the public safety committee continue their soft on crime approach at the expense of California’s most vulnerable, our children.” (RELATED: New California Law Would Allow Kids To Be Taken From Their Parents Without Evidence Of Abuse)

Democratic Berkeley State Senator Nancy Skinner, along with Democratic California State Senator Scott Wiener and committee chairwoman Aisha Wahab, played roles in the amendments. Wiener, in particular, has been known for previous legislation concerning sexual offenses and transgender rights, which has stirred public debate, Daily Wire stated.